Calm before the storm: drupa 2012
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By Laurel Brunner
30 April 2012
Thousands will descend on drupa from this week to see the new printers on show
A curious calm has come over the industry. It is holding its collective breath waiting for the imminent arrival of the drupa storm. And what a storm it shall be, especially when it comes to digital printing engines – of which there will be many.
We reckon this will be the last drupa where the focus is on output engines. This is the last drupa where digital data and digital data processing is subsidiary to printed output. In drupa 2016 the biggest concern will be how printing companies manage data in the cloud, directing it for output to engines the world over.
But we digress. This drupa there are numerous exciting digital presses to see. Kodak is betting its future on drupa and demonstrating its considerable innovations for all of its engines. We are particularly keen to see the Nexpress's fifth unit printing gold, neon pink and fluorescent inks and the Prosper 6000XL, a 300m/min monster, rated for 160m A4 pages per month. It is intended for book printing and runs 50 percent faster than the 5000 with an ink saving mode for printing with up to 30 percent less ink.
Xeikon's most exciting product news is its new duplex portfolio, the Xeikon 8000 series. There are three new presses: the 8500 (replacing the 5000), 8600 (replacing the 6000), and the 8800 (replacing the 8000). They are substantially quicker at 160, 195 and 225ppm respectively and include a new 'toner optimisation mode' for printers who want to offer their customers a cheaper price.
Perhaps the most significant digital press news is HP Indigo's (very) long-awaited B2 digital press. The Indigo 10000 is the first iteration of the company's new Series 4 platform. It has a totally new head, printing seven colours to a 75 x 53cm sheet, 65 to 400gsm. It has auto-duplexing, multisource feeders (two or more drawers and palette loading) and the new press platform has additional cylinders to print two B2 sheets at once. The laser-scanning unit has 28 lasers and processes 2,000 megapixels per second (about 400 iPhone images per second), with no data stitching. HP Indigo claims that the new platform provides four times the imposition efficiency of its previous engines.
HP Indigo will introduce two additional Series 4 engines: the HP Indigo 20000 is a roll-fed technology for labels and flexible packaging that prints 45m/min across a 762mm width, while the HP Indigo 30000 is for folding carton printing with up to seven colours, on up to 600µ substrates.
Although it isn't brand new, for print businesses interested in minimising their carbon footprint, it is also worth talking to HP Indigo about how it is able to deliver a carbon neutral press. The HP Indigo 7600 also now can be used for all sorts of new capabilities such as water marking using transparent ink, layering transparent ink for gloss effects and raised print, or textured effects used a pre-printed mould, to mimic embossing.
Fujifilm's ink-jet digital press portfolio is growing with the addition of the Jetpress 2800, a modified version of the Jetpress 720 for printing folded cartons. Screen is also introducing a carton version of its Truepress JetSX ink-jet technology.
RR Donnelley and KBA have together developed a new ink-jet engine. The Rotajet 76 is the result of an agreement signed last year to co-operate on joint development. Using Kyocera KJ4 heads configured in a page-wide array, the new press, which will be shown as a prototype, prints 150m/min at 600dpi.
But perhaps the most exciting of all is the new technology from Landa Labs. Benny Landa is recognised as one of the fathers of digital printing and for the last few years he has been pouring his money into Landa Labs ($40m [$25m] in the last two years alone). Some of the results, including a new digital press, will be previewed at drupa. The nanopress is based on a new digital ink-jet head that prints droplets 200 to 300 nanometres (from 0.1 to 0.0001th of normal ink-jet droplets). They are so tiny that jet clogging is apparently not a problem, and because they are small the dots respond to light more effectively which can enhance colour gamut and appearance.
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